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NAP (Network Access Point)

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

A NAP is a traffic exchange point in the routing hierarchy of the Internet. It is often called an IX (Internet exchange). There are four original NAPs, which were funded by the NSF (National Science Foundation) and built by major providers during the reorganization of the Internet backbone in the late 1980s. At that time, the NSFNET became the major Internet backbone, but others were available or being built or soon after. When the NSF decided to commercialize the Internet, it proposed the development of Internet exchanges where traffic could be exchanged among backbones. More recently, other Internet exchanges have been built all over the world to handle the massive traffic loads of the Internet.

This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications" with a discussion of the following:

  • Public NAPs and Internet exchanges
  • NAP switching equipment and environment
  • Peering and peering agreements at NAPs
  • Private peering
  • MAE (metropolitan area exchange)
  • Routing arbiter and routing arbiter database (RADB).

See "Internet Architecture and Backbone," "Peering," and "Routing Registries" for more information on these topics.

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